Walk/Bike to School Week Oct 3-7

Sharon Roerty, Director for Community Programs, of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking writes:
International Walk to School Week will be celebrated October 3through 7, 2005. The official website of International Walk to School Week (http://www.iwalk.org/) reports that Walk to School Week 2004 attracted 3 million participants from 36 countries around the globe. In the USA an estimated 3000 school participated from all 50 states (http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/). Wherever you are the mission of the event is the same -- to create powerful partnerships for change.

In 2002 I managed to get my children's elementary school to participate in Walk to School Day. It wasn't easy convincing the (entrenched, change-fearing) school administrators, PTA members and the local leaders. My lobbying efforts began in 2000 and the event didn't happen until after I promised to also manage the school's biggest fund raiser, the Walkathon, and to become the school's safety coordinator. Then (as now) I didn't have the time to take on any of those tasks but I did. The event turned out to be a tremendous success mostly because of a new and very enthusiastic principal who insisted on and made it possible for everyone in the school to participate. I am proud to say that Jefferson School will be celebrating its fourth annual Walk to School Day this October -- 500+ students, all walking, all together -- a sight to behold!

Walk to school events give me great hope that some day every child who wants or needs to walk or ride a bicycle to school may be able to do so safely and conveniently. The recent passage of the federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, with a $612 million appropriation for
safe routes to school should help turn the dream to reality. More than money, though, it will take a commitment from all of us to walk the talk; get involved, roll up your sleeves and make things happen for and with the kids.